Summary: Where Christians receive the power to carry out personal evangelism
Introduction: In light of the events of the past week (SC decision and the violence in the world) the question has come up if this is the End of the World? Maybe not the end of the world, but the end of or nation as we know it.
The residents of Europe in 1939 may have asked themselves the same question about their own nations. Even a generation earlier in 1914 speculated about the end of the word. For many it was.
Should we be worried about these things? Should we at least be concerned? The apostles also asked a similar question about their day after the Resurrection of Christ.
Last week we looked at what sets Christianity apart from every other religion, namely that Christ is alive. Luke says that he gave “many convincing proofs” (v. 3). It was during these forty days that he explained to the apostles the kingdom, and what it would mean in light of his resurrection. Then he gave them similar instructions as the ones he gave before.
I. Wait for the Power (vv.4-5)
1. He had preached about the kingdom of God for three years. Now he tells them to wait.
2. He connected his ministry with John the Baptist. John had begun preaching a baptism of repentance to prepare people for Christ’s ministry. Jesus validated it and amplified it.
3. Jesus was going to give them a different baptism. He had predicted in in John 14-16. It would be coming soon.
4. Many years ago, I heard the phrase, “Do something even if it’s wrong.” And we tell ourselves, “Don’t just stand there. Do something.”
5. When it comes to doing God’s work, we should not just do something. We need to wait to see what God is doing and where he is working. Have you ever noticed how uncomfortable some people feel when there is a break in a conversation and no one says anything? Have you noticed that sometimes we feel as though we must always be doing something for God?
6. Remember the story of Mary and Martha? Martha busied herself in the kitchen while Mary sat at Jesus’ feet. Which one received commendation?
7. We need prayer to prepare.
II. Appropriate the Power (vv. 6-8)
1. Don’t get sidetracked by distracting issues. How many times have we heard about the end times in recent years? Blood Moons, catastrophes, earthquakes? Jesus said these things would come but the end is not yet.
2. Jesus did not tell them when those things would be. He had already told them before in Matthew 24.
3. Get on with what he told us to do.
4. One of the first things we often want to do is go charging off under our own power.
5. Let us “Occupy” as in the parable of the ten minas in Luke 19:11-27. Not “take up space,” but “put to work.”
6. Occupy until Jesus comes, be about his work seeking and saving the lost.
7. He gave us the plan—Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, the whole world.
8. He gave us the power—to be witnesses.
9. The end times are interesting studies, but we can get so caught up in studying prophecy and end times that we do not concern ourselves with those who will be left behind to face the wrath of God without a savior.
10. While we do not know when the Rapture might be or when Armageddon will occur or the Millennium will begin, we do know that each person will face “personal eschatology.” Will they be ready?
11. The primary task of the church is to witness for Christ. The power to witness comes from the presence of the Holy Spirit. When you let the Spirit control and fill your life, he will also fill your mouth.
12. Avery Willis in The Biblical Basis of Missions points out that the Great Commission is never mentioned again after the Holy Spirit comes. Once He has taken control, there is no need to remind Christians of the Commission.
III. Work in the Power (vv. 9-11)
1. Christ told them how he would return, bodily and visibly.
2. He did not tell them when he would return.
3. He told them that when he comes there would be no doubt—“For as the lightning comes from the east and flashes to the west, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be.” Matthew 24: 27.
4. His coming will change the world as we know it. Being aware of Hs coming should change the way we live in our world. “And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure” (1 John 3:3).
5. Our waiting for his return is not to be idle.
Conclusion: Witnessing becomes easier when you realize these truths. Any work for God becomes easier when you expect him to work through you. Then you become a channel, not the source.